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ers, whose occupations free from labour and oppressive care, seem favourable to
"Calm contemplation, and poetic ease,"
we see little to induce the belief that they have drank more deeply at the "Pierian Spring" than a sufficiency " to intoxicate the brain." This, however, is a general remark; for there are here, men in all the professions of life, whose literary acquirements are not surpassed by those of any scholar in our country.
If there be any political differences existing between the good people of the north and south, the stranger will be reminded of them here. The people, generally republican in principle, and independent in action, proud of having produced in Henry "the moving ball of the revolution,"-in Washington," the father of our country," "—in Jefferson, "the founder of genuine republicanism,”—and in Madison and Munroe the able supporters and defenders of their country's rights, hesitate not, boldly, to declare their sentiments and their feelings, and to assert that pro rebus gestes et meritis, Virginia's voice should ever be listened to with an almost parental veneration.
- Take passage down the James. The bar five miles below Richmond prevents the passage of the larger ships to the city. Hence they receive their lading at Warwick, a small landing near the bar; or now generally, a part of it here, and the remainder at City Point, a village, situated at the junction of the James and Appomatox. A few miles below this is fort Powhattan. It is in a dilapidated state, and has done in the defence of the country, all it ever will do; to wit, NOTHING. Not far distant, upon the bank of the river, was pointed out to me the birth-place of its projector, the illustrious Jefferson. It is an ordinary mansion, of an ordinary planter. It's appearance, while it proves the superiority of his talents and his worth, and shows the regard of our county to merit, suggests the idea that genius and distinction in this republic, are not confined to the palaces of the great.
The scenery presented to the spectator from the
banks of the river, is by no means picturesque or interesting when compared with that of the "majestic Hudson." The eye meets here none of" nature's disports," no bold and precipitous shores-rocks piled on rocks, and highlands towering to the skies; but the labours of her milder hours,-extensive valleys occasionally variegated with a gentle eminence, skirted with woodlands and adorned with marshes.
There is, however, upon this river, one object which must arrest the attention of every intelligent traveller,-. that is, the site of ancient Jamestown. As this was the first place of a permanent European settlement in this country, the theatre of actions, alike honourable to savage and civilized life; as it has become in this new world a place remarkable for its antiquity; a memento of the ravages of time; and as it is the cemetery of many of our progenitors, it is connected in the mind of every American, with a thousand interesting associations. In the surrounding scenery there is little to divert the eye, or please the fancy. There is remaining of the vestiges of the ancient occupants, barely sufficient to tell the passing stranger "Ilium fuit." It is the imagination principally, that gives interest to the scene, At this season of the year, however, when the adjacent forests that far and near crowd upon the eye "are tinged with the hues of earliest autumn," nature seems dressed in an attire best calculated to aid the imagination to ruminate upon the emotions which recollections and associations have inspired. As I put foot upon this romantic spot, the sun was just gilding it with his last glimmering beams: several vessels at anchor were waiting the favour of the tide; no sound was heard but the lashing of the recurring flood; all nature seemed to conspire to render the scene favourable to contemplation and poetic musing.
There is now on the premises but one building and a few out-houses. The former occupied by the steward of the gentleman who owns the whole premises, the latter by the servants who work on the plantation. The whole land is in a state of cultivation. Of the ancient village nothing now remains, but the demolished
ruins of a few houses, a part of the wall of the church about thirty feet in height covered with ivy, and the grave-yard, occupying about a quarter of an acre of ground, inclosed by a brick wall of rude and antiquated appearance. The whole reminded the admirer of Ossian, of his happy description of the ruins of the dwelling of Morna. "I have seen the walls of Balclutha, but they were desolate. The fire had resounded within the walls, and the voice of the people is now heard no more. The stream of Clutha was removed from its place by the fall of the walls the thistle shook then its lonely head; the moss whistled to the wind. The fox looked out at the window; the rank grass waved round his head." In the grave-yard are deposited the remains of many of the early adventurers. Over the ashes of some of them are erected monuments, perhaps the only memorials of their existence. Others, however, who here found an end to their troubles, have by their learning, their virtue, and their enterprize, given themselves an immortality as lasting as the history of the eventful time that records their transactions. As the workmanship and inscriptions of these memorials of the dead show the state of sculpture and of writing for two centuries past, and the taste and feelings of those who reared them, they are singularly interesting. Within the enclosure stands a large sycamore. Its huge trunk and wide-spreading boughs, its whole appearance which indicates that the "blasts of at least a hundred winters have whistled through its branches," impart to the scene a melancholy aspect. In the progress of time, its body has grown over a tomb-stone placed by its side nearly a foot in extent. Upon the prominent part of this stone sat the British Spy when he wrote that most elegant production of his pen--the description of Jamestown.
When contemplating upon scenes of this melancholy character, surrounded by the tombs of those whose names we venerate, and by
"fallen columns in the shade "Of ruin❜d walls, that have survived the times "Of those who rear'd them,"
how naturally and fondly does the imagination run to "older times," and picture to the mind the varied scenes in which those who then were conversant with them were engaged. Here, it can have full scope. The laspe of two centuries is replete with circumstances full of interest. Here, at the commencement of that period
"Beast with man divided empire claimed ;"
here the Indian dance was held, his war-whoop sounded, his cruelties manifested, and his virtues discovered. Here, his eye first caught the wide-spread canvas of civilization; his wild heart beat at the voice of the cannon's thunder, and at the glitter of the white man's arms. Here the invincible and ardent Smith
"Environed as he was with many foes,
“And who stood against them as the hope of Troy,” in defiance of savage ferocity and treachery, and of the mutinies and intrigues of his associates, planted the standard of his country, and laid the step-stone to the extensive empire, which now rivals in liberty, in wealth and in prowess, the proudest kingdoms in Europe. Here, too, the cunning and insidious Powhatan, swayed his savage sceptre; here his daughter, the humane, and ever memorable Pocahontas displayed those virtues which, as they have given her an immortality, have proved to the world, that the warmest sensibility and most disinterested friendship are not confined to civiliz od life.
Who can think of her vigilance, her humanity, her despairing intreaties in behalf of captain Smith, while in the power of her inexorable father, without emotion? So much virtue, constancy, and magnanimity, even to the savage heart, was irresistible.
"Her sighs did make a battery in his breast,
These were " troublous times," to the Indian, as well as to the white man; to the former, that he saw his country invaded by a foe, superior to him in power and intelligence-expelling him from the forests, that gave
him his pleasure in the chase, and his hope for subsistence, and trampling sacrilegiously upon the ashes of his fathers. To the latter, that in all his movements, his wily adversaries were lurking to ensnare him; that all his exertions were restricted and precarious, and that in one unexpected moment, all his prospects might be blasted. The colonists for several successive years, were surrounded by enemies, whom no stratagem could delude, no force overcome, no prudence conciliate. Hope and fear alternately possessed them At one time fell disease, and ghastly famine would stare them in the face; at another, health would attend their exertions, and plenty crown their board. Now, success, and victory, and joy, would await their banner, and illumine their horizon; then defeat and massacre, and despair, would succeed, and envelope it in the darkest clouds.
"Now sways it this way, like a mighty sea
"Sometimes the flood prevails, and then the wind;
There is, however, a strain of reflections inspired by a view of ancient Jamestown, totally different from the former. From the efforts of our fathers in this " new world," efforts replete with labour, solicitude, trouble and death; a foundation was laid for an empire, whose unprotected inhabitants, in process of time, moved the arm of just resentment, against the tyranny and oppression of an unnatural parent, declared and acquired their independence of foreign alliance, humbled the pretensions of the British crown, plucked from it its "brightest jewel," and established a government, upon the firm basis of equality and justice, that has become a home for the stranger, an asylum for the oppressed, a name and a praise throughout the whole earth." But truce to such reflections. This is a string so often struck, that its music has almost ceased to command our admiration.